NEW YORK – BMW AG will recover its investment in Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd. over the lifecycle of the current Phantom, or roughly seven to 10 years, says Rolls Chairman and CEO Ian Robertson.

BMW invested about $100 million for the new factory in Goodwood, U.K., and also paid a license fee of about $45 million for the brand name and the right to use the historic “Flying Lady” emblem on future Rolls-Royce models.

Rolls-Royce Phantom

Robertson is mulling over how to expand the Rolls-Royce product portfolio. A convertible is scheduled to debut in mid-2007.

Robertson says there will be a total of three models in the brand's program for now.

"Other models are in the concept phase," he says. "We will make up our minds in the next 12 months.”

The new models could include a cross/utility vehicle, although Robertson declines confirmation.

"Rolls-Royce is not looking at the ashes of the past," Robertson says. "Where we head in the future is up for discussion."

Robertson predicts the new convertible will be a success. "The response to the convertible will be high," he says.

A name for the drop-top is yet to be determined.

"We are looking at all heritage names and some new ones for the convertible," he says. The last Rolls-Royce convertible to wear the Rolls-Royce badge was the Corniche in 2002.

Up to now, U.S. buyers could purchase the Phantom only in its standard wheelbase. But Rolls is going to test the waters with the long-wheelbase model when it exhibits the car at the Pebble Beach Concours de Elegance this summer.

Worldwide retail sales of the Phantom stand at about 1,400-units. About 750 of those were purchased in the U.S., the luxury brand's biggest market.

Rolls' home market in the U.K. is second, with Western Europe in third, followed by the Middle East and Asia.

The luxury marque also announces the appointment of Peter Miles, currently western regional manager for the brand, as president of its North American operations. Miles replaces James Selwa, who was appointed president of Maserati North America. (See related story: Maserati N.A. Hires Selwa)